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Penn State takes next step in Hammond Building demolition, Sackett Building renovations

A rendering of the proposed renovations to Sackett Building
Courtesy of KieranTimberlake
A rendering of the proposed renovations to Sackett Building

The State College Planning Commission heard a presentation last week that marks the next step in Penn State’s efforts to renovate the Sackett Building and demolish the Hammond Building.

The final plan involves a years-long project in Penn State’s “core campus.” It would result in two new wings on the nearly-century-old Sackett Building and a temporary green space along College Avenue in place of the Hammond Building, its Kunkle Lounge and the adjacent Engineering Units.

Though the plan still requires approval from Penn State’s Board of Trustees, construction is proposed to begin in late 2024.

Penn State University Planner Neil Sullivan said the project would happen in waves of several years.

The engineering units and lounges attached to Hammond and Sackett would be leveled first. Then, Sullivan said the new wings of Sackett would be constructed and the existing building remodeled. Finally, in 2027, the 63-year-old Hammond Building would fall.

Though large sections of campus would become inaccessible, Sullivan said nearby Pattee Mall and the Hintz Family Alumni Center would remain continuously open. College Avenue would also be unaffected.

“We do have to close off a certain amount of space, but we want to keep that as minimal as possible,” he said.

The project is part of the College of Engineering’s larger master plan, which also seeks to develop two new buildings and a plaza on the space currently occupied by Hammond.

“With the idea of Sackett and the future buildings on College, we’re really hoping to break down the physical barriers that separate campus from downtown borough,” he said.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will take place May 2, though it’s unclear if the project is on the agenda.

James Engel is a WPSU news intern and senior at Penn State.